Business Groups Support Reform of PATRIOT Powers
Major business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are urging Congress to add additional judicial controls to provisions of the PATRIOT Act expanding government access to personal records held by businesses. In an October 4 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the traditionally conservative groups praised Senate language requiring a factual basis and particularized suspicion for court orders under the controversial Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and 'National Security Letters.' The House bill reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act does not contain similar protections. Representatives of the two Houses of Congress have begun discussions to reconcile the two versions.